dialogues

Silvia Conta and Lihi Turjeman

Silvia Conta:  What group of works is presented in this exhibition? What trajectory informs the works in the gallery space?

Lihi TurjemanFor the exhibition at Quartz Studio, I created a painting installation defined by attraction to the archaic, a desire marking a break with the culture of the present. One of the ‘protagonists’ of this installation is the basic clay pot. We humans have been making them since the dawn of civilization. They are tools, vessels intended for a clear function, but at the same time they are full of mythology and, in this case, they are fictitious. Earthen Pots (2020) and Holding Pattern (2020) depict a multitude of empty clay amphorae gathered together on a black backdrop. Some of the pots are boldly painted, starkly distinguished against the canvas, while others are darker, obscured, or else yet to be defined. The pots, arranged in a way that recalls choreographed human bodies, hint at the possibilities of another kind of gaze. A central piece in the show is inspired by a 4,000-year-old “pensive” figurine (from the Canaanite period/bronze age) that was discovered atop a pottery vessel buried in the earth of Israel/Palestine. This ungendered “thinker” sculpture design is unusual. It was discovered in the grave of a Canaanite warrior. History shows that warriors were often buried with figurines, which functioned as spiritual guides to the dead, along with other pottery objects, such as weapons and animal bones. Turjeman created a larger version of that guiding figurine, its eyes open wide and empty, as it is seeking to unearth a present moment that has yet to be (re)visited. The black canvases are another dominant entity in the show. The black ready-made surface is the only point of spatial reference, but it is also a negation that is also in the title of this project, Unearth. Is the negation a negation of place, a negation of nature, a negation of matter? I am not interested in the existential presence of the object in the world but in what the object contains; not the material content but the abstract one. The surface color creates spaces within the object, and these are the spaces that create depth and refer to what ‘lies within the object’, as things are hidden within words. The notion of archeology here, for me, is not one that deals with lifeless historical objects, but one that moves in space and happens to pop up / appear as a container. It exists within the vase or its ‘image’, a movement that is abstracted from its materiality. This is how I use archeology to move away from it, seeking hidden knowledge, touching those places in our present that we cannot experience or grasp.

 

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Eva Brioschi and Giannantonio Morghen about Henri Chopin

Eva Brioschi: Could you say something about your collecting history and your passion for art?

Giannantonio Morghen: Since the early 1980s, I’ve been interested in everything that was considered avant-garde: Man Ray, Duchamp. I was especially obsessed with an artist from my region, Fortunato Depero. I’ve been up and down Italy and across the Atlantic on a hunt for his works, his essays, letters, and rare books thought destroyed by the Fascists. Now many of these rare documents are in the artist Ugo Nespolo’s collection. Then I started to focus on artists with whom I felt a closer connection, including my friendship with Francesco Conz, who helped me on this journey; likewise, Allan Kaprow, Emmett Williams [connected to the Fluxus movement], Milan Knížák, Giuseppe Chiari, and many others came to my house to visit me. And among all these artists there were two in particular who caught my attention and became life-long friends: Giuseppe Desiato and Henri Chopin. Thanks to them, I decided to build a collection that I called “Silent Avant-gardes”, which included, of course, works by them as well as by Carlo Belli, Josef Jarema, artists from Eastern Europe (“silent” because of the Iron Curtain), Giuseppe Chiari, and Bruno Munari. In a world driven by consumerism, I had the sense, or actually the certainty, that they could show us new ways towards a better world worth living in.

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Marco Scotti and Jonathan Monk

Marco Scotti:  In this interview I would love to discuss with you about football and art. Football and conceptual arts could seem very distant at a first glance, but in your work they are both part of a unique, coherent discourse… What has been your first artwork to include football in some way? And how have you approached images, concepts and ideas from football imagery and brought them into your work?

Jonathan Monk: I think the first football related work was titled Remake of the Weekend and I was still a student so it was probably 1990 or '91. I remade a version of Jeff Koons Equilibrium tank works but replaced the perfectly floating basketballs with one sunken and one hovering football… football as a sport does seem to be rather imbalanced and unpredictable (at the top level at least) and the fans can’t be seen as level headed.

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Anna Daneri and Maurizio Camerani

Anna Daneri: The exhibition plan you have conceived together with Massimo Marchetti for Quartz Studio was born from a recent research aiming for meddling with the experimentations you carried out in the Seventies, often in form of collaborative projects, that generated actions in urban spaces or somewhere else, but always outside the "protected" gallery or museum spaces. Those were the years, when you and Mara Sitti, the artist and life partner, unfortunately prematurely dead in 1992, with whom you carried out many of the researches to which you are going back today, formed the variable team Ricerche Inter/Media. Living in a period - by now lasting nearly ten years long - when younger artists, critics and institutions, both private and public, go back to the practices of the Seventies, I find very interesting that an artist himself chose to deal with his own work, without any nostalgic or " historicist " stance, by expressing instead the will of reactivating his own history, that is collective too.

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Davide Dal Sasso and Jorge Macchi

Jorge Macchi (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1963) is one of the most prominent artists in the Latin American contemporary art scene. Winner of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2001, his works have been exhibited in several international institutions. Departing from a reflection on Macchi’s relationship with music, the dialogue explores the themes of image, form, interpretation, the possibilities afforded by the artwork and the relationship with the public.

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Elena Bordignon and Lisa Andreani

On the occasion of The Bubble Boy (Needs to Hug), the exhibition by Riccardo Previdi (Milan, 1974) at Quartz Studio in Turin, we have been going into some aspects of the artist's work with the curator Lisa Andreani. The artist focused on the story of David Vetter, a kid born in the Seventies who lived the 12 years of his life always inside a sort of bubble, or a sterile containment bell jar, because affected by a disease called severe combined immunodeficiency, that did not allow him to have any contact with the outside world for the risk of contracting infections. Why bringing back a story that moved the entire world? We ask the curator Lisa Andreani about it.

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Lisa Parola and Giuseppe Gabellone

In the last few decades, within the field of visual arts, sculpture has been relegated to a nearly ancillary role, for a long time passed over by some reinterpretations of specific historical avant-garde and neo-avant-garde forms. Under such a redefinition of fields and perspectives, only recently, at an international level, some artists sensed a strong urgency to review the idea of sculpture in an attempt to reposition it within the complex and fluid dimension of contemporaneity.  To Giuseppe Gabellone (Brindisi, 1973) the visual research has always been a matter of sculpture.

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Federica Giallombardo and Ola Vasiljeva

When we come into the presence of a work by Ola Vasiljeva (Latvia, 1981), what immediately strikes us are the daring, towering glimpses, which with their poetics of objects illusorily overstep ceilings and walls filling them with light, colours, wonder; the coherent glare of the spatial quadrature; the visual focus on an ideal point, effective practice of contemporaneity that reflects more social rather than material distortions in a mastery that is never too bold. A multifaceted artist, who divides and reunites her essence between architecture, scenography and narrative and with semantic bents as physical points of reflection. Vasiljeva’s installations unravel new possibilities of optical illusion of the urban views, using interminable expedients such as the realization of the work on site and the synergy with the exhibition space. The use of artefacts that dramatically give themselves up and dissolve in their details – three yellowed mirrors, one box with newspaper clippings, two cellophaned jackets on the floor with a childish drawing, a pair of Japanese Geta sandals in the Turin solo exhibition presented at Quartz Studio, Qualcuno si è seduto sulla mia sedia [Someone Sat on my Chair], promoted by Fondazione Sardi per l’Arte – takes advantage of personal experience in the immediacy, almost flattering itself with its possible temporality.

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Matteo Mottin and Isa Melsheimer

Quartz Studio inaugurated Examination of the origins, the first solo show in Italy by the German artist Isa Melsheimer (Neuss, Germany, 1968). For the exhibition, the artist made a site-specific installation inspired by XX century Italian architecture.

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